Robotics state tournament comes to SVSU

By: Carter Houtman, reporter

SVSU Robotics Event
Robotics has become a huge deal for high schoolers in recent years, and after the state tournament on April 13, it’s easy to see why. Teams from high schools from around Michigan came to SVSU to participate in the annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics competition at the Ryder Center.

Hundreds of students came with their teams to participate in the heated competition. One red team and one blue team, each with three robots, competed in this year’s version of the game. This year, there were three different tasks that each school could build their robot to do. The first was to pick up yellow cubes and raise them to the tallest of three seesaws to gain points. Being the tallest robot of the three on the team, this robot was also typically the one that would hook on to a bar and climb off the ground at the end of the round for extra points.

The second kind was a mid-sized robot that was quick and could easily pick up the same cubes and place them on the two shorter seesaws on the field to tip the scales to their favor and gain points.

The third kind of robot was the smallest and fastest of the three. This robot couldn’t do any tasks except play defense and push the yellow cubes through a hole in the wall of the field to a person who stacked the cubes in a column outside the field to gain more points. The more cubes in the column, the more points for the team.

At the beginning of the round, there is a 15-second period where the robots have to move autonomously, meaning that the team cannot control the robot and the robot is doing a specific task on its own. After that, the drive team for the robot can step in and begin controlling the robot for the rest of the round.At the end of the round, all three robots need to go to their team’s colored platform in the center of the field. For maximum points, the tallest robot can climb on to the seesaw in the center of the field.

FIRST Robotics is a new and exciting way for high-school students to learn and get involved in trades like manufacturing, electrical work and coding. According to the FIRST Robotics website, 87 percent of participating students plan to take a more challenging math or science course because of robotics. They are also over two times as likely to show gains in their interest of STEM fields and are about three times more likely to enroll in an engineering course their first year of college.

Because of this new extracurricular activity, students are not only having fun, but they are also learning team cooperation and are making strides to graduating college with a degree in something they can make a good living and enjoy doing.

More information on the FIRST Robotics organization and what they are doing to better high-school student’s academic achievements, visit www.firstinspires.org.

Later this month there will be more than 400 robotics teams competing in Detroit for the FIRST Robotics Global competition. The Global event will be split into two different venues, half will compete in Houston from April 18-21, and the second half will be held at Detroit’s Cobo Center from April 25-28.

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